When I think of the words “Functional Medicine” I think that it tells people just how their body is truly functioning and not focused on finding a “Disease.” In blood work there are “medical” ranges that are standard to most traditional clinicians. There are also “functional” or “optimal” ranges that are just as important, or even more important as they can help prevent disease and/or serious health challenges. Lately I have been seeing many clients that have a low B12 and folate levels plus a high Homocysteine level which is a cardiovascular and inflammation marker. If a homocysteine level is “medically” sound but “functionally” elevated, wouldn’t you want to know to prevent it from reaching a high “medical” level?
With TSH, a thyroid stimulating hormone, there is a huge difference in opinion when dealing with thyroid disease. The “medical” level for hypothyroid treatment is around a 5.0 but the “functional” level for TSH is just under a 2.0. If someone comes into our clinic and has a TSH at a 3.5 it is not a “medical” hypothyroid disease, however in the world of “functional” medicine we see that the thyroid is not functioning as well as it should and natural support may be helpful to prevent worse symptoms. Symptoms of a sluggish thyroid may be fatigue, weight gain, depression, swelling, hair loss and more.
Another area where “medical” and “functional” levels differ is with the adrenal glands and coritsol. Most functional medicine practitioners prefer to run a cortisol test via saliva to see how the cortisol level acts throughout the day. Most traditional clinicians only run cortisol once via the blood which only gives are a one time reading which may or may not be the same at a different time of the day.
What is Functional Medicine? Functional medicine is looking between the lines and getting to the root cause of symptoms all at the same time.
So if you ask us “What is functional medicine and is it right for you”, our answer would be “Why would it not be for YOU?” Functional Medicine is perfect for people wanting to get healthy and stay well while understanding their body and personal needs.
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Medical disclaimer: Testing cannot be used to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. All test results are to be used as educational materials and as a guide to help support your overall health and wellness. Always discuss health concerns with your medical doctor. We have a nutritionist, naturopath and a medical doctor on staff to help you feel your best.
By Alane Palmer, ND, CNC